Breakfast was to be included with our hotel but, we were so tired we slept too late to get our breakfast buffet at the hotel. So, we rested and ventured out on our own with a plan to head to The Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Neighborhood. It was our understanding those weren't on the list of things we'd see with our tour group. As we wondered around we came upon what is called The Old Roman Wall (Auirelian Walls). These walls were built for defenses of the Eternal City way back in the 4th century BC. The 6th King of Rome Servius Tullius initiated the first defensive walls built from large blocks of volcanic tufa that were about 10 meters high.
There was about 500 years of peace in The Roman Empire, during the Golden Age and little need of defensive walls. However, later as Rome grew and more lands and peoples were involved that changed. The Barbaric Hoards were a problem so Aurelian, who was then the Emperor had the walls rebuilt and it included all of the 7 hills of Rome and Trastevere district south of the Tiber River. It only took 5 years to build these walls that covered 3500 acres, as the Emperor used Rome Citizens, not just the military. It was completed just after the death of Aurelian. Later Maxentius doubled the height of the walls to increase protection. There were 381 square watch towers built at 30 meter intervals with 18 gateways in and out of the city.
These walls, and gateways remained after the fall of The Roman Empire. After 16 centuries the walls were breached at Porta Pia on Sept 20th 1870, which was the beginning of the unification of Italy under King Victor Emmanuel II. Though Italy is old...very old, it has not been a unified country for very long. A little confusion on the date, as I also read the date of 1861 as the date The King declared the country unified, so perhaps Porta Pia was a battle after the fact.
These walls are the largest monument in Rome as they extend into everyday life. You see the walls, you still go through the gateways, some of the walls are included in peoples homes and other buildings throughout the city.
Hubby, as we were walking about. I needed to prove he was there. LOL- This was a park near the above wall and gate.
We made our way to The Spanish Steps, but it was terribly crowded, and quite hot. So we walked around a bit.
Us half way on The Spanish Steps with Trinita dei Monti Church behind us.
Lots of shopping around The Spanish Steps
Trying to get a feel for the steepness of the steps down into the square. The Spanish steps were built to link the Church at the top of Piazza di Spagna to the Spanish square below.
Another view of the church
Was hot and we needed a break so found a little place for lunch, Trinita Snack Bar. We shared a sandwich and had our first very cool Italian Gelato after lunch. Sparkler included! I did not find a webpage for this little restaurant, but did a favorable review on yelp, and here's the link to their facebook page.
Beautiful statues everywhere, as we continued on walking after lunch.
Even at Government Buildings, which is where these very steep steps go. We found shade though!
Even the streets are pretty, notice the mix of color between the white government buildings.
Statues abound. At this point, I was done.... (broke my foot in March and not totally healed, as it takes they say a year), so we called Uber and made it back to the hotel to rest a bit, and get showers in order to meet up with a tour guide and group members for a welcome dinner that evening.
A wonderful and full day before our tour.